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ICYMI- Spain Considers Making Digital Copyright Law Worse: Pleasing The US Again?

Tech Dirt
Spain Considers Making Digital Copyright Law Worse: Pleasing The US Again?
Posted: March 1, 2013 3:41 AM

We wrote a couple of weeks ago how some were arguing that Spain ought to go back on the “naughty” Special 301 list for failing to show any “positive developments” on the copyright front recently. By an interesting coincidence, the Spanish Internet Association has just published a leaked draft of proposals to make digital copyright law in Spain even harsher. Here’s how the Web site ADSL Zone describes them (original in Spanish):

The new proposals have a clear intention: to amend the Criminal Code to allow criminal prosecutions of Websites that provide links. According to the leaked document it will be an offense to provide ordered listings and categorized links to protected content, developed for this purpose and involving an active and non-neutral maintenance and updating of those lists.

Interestingly, Google wouldn’t be affected by the new law according to ADSL Zone, nor would “occasional links” be prosecuted. Of course, everything would then hinge on what “occasional” meant in this context.

There’s also the following proposal:

Second, the paper seeks to limit the concept of private copying. This will require us to be in possession of the “original media”. This is really incompatible with the current reality, since there are legal platforms like Spotify or iTunes where you do not have that “native support”.

The concept of “original media” is meaningless in the digital realm, where files are copied many times as they traverse the Internet, or as people move them around on their storage media. How on earth would you prove that your digital copy was “original”?

Finally, there is a suggestion for making the copyright levy system not only worse, but in conflict with current EU plans to rationalize it:

no matter whether we copy or not, whether or not we have the “original media”, the fee will be charged in any case.

In an age where storage media are becoming ubiquitous — if Samsung’s refrigerator is running Android, it must have storage — such levies are anachronistic and harm innovation, so Spain’s plans to push on with them is one more indicator that it’s heading in the wrong direction. The big question, of course, is why it is doing this: is it simply the usual story of lobbyists’ privileged access to government ministers who aren’t interested in whether the new measures are fair or even effective? Or is this once more the heavy hand of America reaching across the water to put a little pressure on its Hispanic friends…?